top of page

Martha Ricks: Born Into Slavery, She Became A Proud Liberian, And Met Queen Victoria.

Working for 25 years to complete a quilt featuring a Liberian coffee tree with over 300 green leaves in the design, she made a sensational 3,500-mile trip to present the quilt to Queen Victoria.

How a Former Slave Gave a Quilt to Queen Victoria - This BBC story relates how the two women, of a similar age, greeted each other warmly, shaking hands and smiling.

Excerpts from Queen Victoria's personal journal, 16 July 1892, describing her meeting with Mrs. Martha Ricks.

Martha Ricks - Official profile at the National Portrait Gallery of the United Kingdom.

Newspaper illustration of Queen Victoria's meeting with Martha Ricks.

Martha Erskine Ricks: 19th Century Quiltmaker - An in-depth historical overview of Mrs. Martha Ricks and her quilt.
The prominent African-American educator and activist, Hallie Quinn Brown, provides the following additional information about Mrs. Martha Ricks' visit with Queen Victoria, as part of a profile she wrote of Mrs. Jane Roberts, wife of the first President of Liberia. Mrs. Roberts had accompanied Mrs. Ricks on her journey to see Queen Victoria. See Mrs. Roberts' profile (pages 47-48) in: Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction.

Martha Ricks' famous Coffee Tree quilt is now apparently lost. However, a poor-quality photograph of the quilt exists from its last public exhibition at the International and Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1895. Unfortunately, the photograph also shows the Jim Crow-era exhibit description. The multi-leaf quilt is partially visible to the rear of the photo.

bottom of page